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Reimagining Law: Tips for Overcoming Challenges in State Courts from the NCSC

In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to
 Danielle Hirsch and Zach Zarnow, consultants at the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and hosts of the NCSC’s popular Tiny Chats. The duo discusses the role and priorities of the NCSCchallenges and opportunities for the legal profession amid the pandemicand how courts can adapt to be more responsive to public needs.   

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  • 0:57 – Give us a 1000-foot view, what does the NCSC do and how have its priorities realigned given COVID-19? 
  • 2:37 – What specific challenges are state courts facing today?  
  • 4:34 – Where do you see opportunities for collaboration in the legal profession to better meet these challenges, be it in bar associations, law schools, or other organizations? 
  • 7:46 – How can courts better adapt to be more responsive to the needs of the public they serve? 
  • 10:29 – What have been some of your most well-received Tiny Chats?  

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Danielle Hirsch 

Danielle Hirsch is a Principal Court Management Consultant at the National Center for State Courts. In the main, Danielle’s focus is to provide advanced management consulting work to courts and their partners at the state and local level, primarily focused on access to justice and business process simplification issues in the civil courts.  

In her time with the National Center for State Courts, Danielle has provided intensive technical assistance to access to justice teams, courts, judicial systems, and other stakeholders in many states; and she serves as the lead staff for the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators’ Access and Fairness Committee, and the Post-Pandemic Planning Technology Working Group. Danielle also serves as Project Director for the national Justice for All Initiative and works with the Pew Charitable Trusts around civil justice system modernization.  

In addition, Danielle is the co-host of NCSC’s Tiny Chats, offering free, digestible, and creative short-form educational videos and discussions about access to justice and court operations topics court staff and interested stakeholders. Danielle can be found on Twitter at @dehirsch1. 

Zach Zarnow 

Zach Zarnow is a consultant who focuses on working to increase access to justice. At the National Center for State Courts, he has worked with courts and their partners at the local and national level on process simplification, online dispute resolution, civil legal system modernization generally, and numerous projects designed to increase and improve legal information and the experiences of self-represented litigants.  

He is one of the creators and hosts of NCSC’s Tiny Chats. Zach was the Program Director at the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF), where he led an overhaul of data collection, grant management procedures, and outcome measurements and designed and launched the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, which he still manages.  

His dog is named Smudge and she is as cute as she sounds. Zach can be found on Twitter at @ZachZarnow.  

About Reimagining Law   

The Reimagining Law video series explores how legal and judicial professionals are adapting the delivery of services to meet the unique needs of today’s consumers. Reimagining Law is produced by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.   

This episode was recorded on November 9, 2020 

Check out more episodes of Reimagining Law here.

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